ike Clinton, Barack Obama advocated for an end to DADT during his presidential campaign, calling for the end of the policy in an open letter
in 2008. Obama also pledged
to end the policy in October 2009 when he spoke before the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Annual Dinner:
We are moving ahead on Don't Ask Don't Tell. We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve this country. We should be celebrating their willingness to show such courage and selflessness on behalf of their fellow citizens, especially when we're fighting two wars.
We cannot afford to cut from our ranks people with the critical skills we need to fight any more than we can afford -- for our military's integrity -- to force those willing to do so into careers encumbered and compromised by having to live a lie. So I'm working with the Pentagon, its leadership, and the members of the House and Senate on ending this policy. Legislation has been introduced in the House to make this happen. I will end Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's my commitment to you.
In anticipation of the repeal of DADT, Defense Secretary Robert Gates created
a panel to prepare the Department of Defense (DOD) for the transition. While he stressed his support of the repeal efforts, Gates emphasized the need for a deliberate process of review given the ongoing military engagements overseas. Gates set
stricter measures for expelling openly gay or lesbian service members from the military in March 2010. He also issued
a second memorandum in October 2010 which limited the authority to discharge openly homosexual service members to five senior DOD officials.